Making the internet work better for everyone in Africa

5 hours 52 minutes ago

By 2034 Africa is expected to have the world’s largest working-age population of 1.1 billion—yet only 3 to 4 million jobs are created annually. That means there’s an urgent need to create opportunities for the millions of people on the continent who are creative, smart and driven to succeed. The internet, and technology as a whole, offer great opportunities for creating jobs, growing businesses and boosting economies. But people need the right skills, tools and products to navigate the digital world and to make it work for them, their businesses and their communities.

Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, is interviewed by Nigerian journalist Adesuwa Onyenokwe at our Google for Nigeria event in Lagos.

Today, at our Google for Nigeria event in Lagos, we announced progress we’ve made in our products and features for users in Nigeria, including YouTube, Search and Maps. We also announced initiatives focused on digital skills training, education and economic opportunity, and support for African startups and developers.

Digital Skills for Africa

Last year we set out to help bridge the digital skills gap in Africa when we pledged to train one million young people in the region—and we’ve exceeded this target. Through either in-person or online trainings, we help people learn to build a web presence, use Search to find jobs, get tips to enhance their CV, use social media, and so on. Now we’re expanding this program, and committing to prepare another 10 million people for jobs of the future in the next five years. We’ll also be providing mobile developer training to 100,000 Africans to develop world-class apps, with an initial focus on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Google.org grants

Our charitable arm, Google.org, is committing $20 million over the next five years to nonprofits that are working to improve lives across Africa. We’re giving $2.5 million in initial grants to the nonprofit arms of African startups Gidi Mobile and Siyavula to provide free access to learning for 400,000 low-income students in South Africa and Nigeria. The grantees will also develop new digital learning materials that will be free for anyone to use.

We also want to invite nonprofits from across the continent to share their ideas for how they could impact their community and beyond. So we’re launching a Google.org Impact Challenge in Africa in 2018 to award $5 million in grants. Any eligible nonprofit in Africa can apply, and anyone will be able to help select the best ideas by voting online.

Launchpad Accelerator Africa

We want to do more to support African entrepreneurs in building successful technology companies and products. Based on our global Launchpad Accelerator program, this initiative will provide more than $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship, working space and access to expert advisers to more than 60 African startups over three years. Intensive three-month programs, held twice per year, will run out of a new Google Launchpad Space in Lagos—the program’s first location outside of the United States.

Making our products work better in Africa

For people to take advantage of digital opportunities, acquiring the right skills and tools is only part of the equation. Online products and services—including ours—also need to work better in Africa. Today, we’re sharing news about how we’re making YouTube, Search and Maps more useful and relevant for Nigerian users.

YouTube Go

Designed from the ground up, YouTube Go lets you discover, save and share videos you love in a way that’s transparent about the size of downloads. Designed to be “offline” first, the app improves the experience of watching videos on a slower network and gives control over the amount of data used streaming or saving videos. It’s a full YouTube experience, with fresh and relevant video recommendations tailored to your preferences and the ability to share videos quickly and easily with friends nearby.  In June, Nigeria became the second country where we started actively testing YouTube Go. Later this year, we’ll be expanding this to a beta launch of the app, available to all Nigerian users.

Lagos now on Street View in Google Maps

In the last few months, we’ve improved our address search experience in Lagos, by adding thousands of new addresses and streets, outlines of more than a million buildings in commercial and residential areas, and more than 100,000 additional Nigerian small businesses on Google Maps. Today we’re launching Lagos on Street View, with 10,000 kilometers of imagery, including the most important historic roads in the city. You can virtually drive along the Carter Bridge to the National Stadium or across the Eko Bridge, down to the Marina—all on your smartphone.

Faster web results

When you’re on a 2G-like connection or using a low storage device, pages can take a long time to load. We previously launched a feature that streamlines search results so they load with less data and at high speed.  Today we’re extending that feature to streamline websites you reach from search results, so that they load with 90 percent less data and five times faster, even on low storage devices.  

More local information in Search

We’ve also made several updates to Search to bring more useful, relevant answers and information to people in Nigeria:

  • Knowledge Panels: We’re connecting people with easy access to the answers to things they care about, displaying knowledge cards for everything from local football teams to Nigerian musicians and actors.

  • Health Cards: Later this year we’ll launch more than 800 knowledge cards detailing common symptoms and treatments for the most prevalent health conditions in Nigeria. We’ve partnered with the University of Ibadan to ensure that answers have been reviewed by Nigerian doctors for local relevance and accuracy. Nigeria is one of the first countries where we’re providing locally tailored health answers on Search.  

  • Posts on Google: Posts makes it possible for musicians, entertainers and other public figures to share updates, images and videos directly on Google, for people to see while they explore on the web. Nigeria is the third country where we’ve made this feature available and some of the country’s popular musicians are already using it.

The things we’re announcing today are what drive us—building platforms and products that are relevant and useful for billions, not just the few, and helping people to succeed in the digital economy. That’s why we hope to equip more people, in Africa and elsewhere, with digital skills and tools. We’re excited to be part of Africa’s evolving digital story.

The euro’s obituaries were premature

1 day 10 hours ago
FIVE years ago, Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, pledged to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. At the time, many people were predicting that the euro zone would break up. But Mr Draghi pulled off the trick; no countries have left the single currency.

Weaponized Mastery, Autonomy, And Purpose

1 day 16 hours ago

Years ago, I published a post called How to Keep Your Best Programmers.  In it, I discussed what drives programmers out of jobs and what keeps them happy.  This discussion touched heavily on the concepts of mastery, autonomy, and purpose as important motivators for knowledge workers.  If you want to keep skilled programmers, you can’t […]

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Erik Dietrich

Helping people in a crisis

2 days 10 hours ago

In times of crisis, access to timely, actionable information is crucial. Working alongside trained responders and volunteers on the ground, technology plays a vital role in providing information to help keep you and loved ones safe and informed. SOS alerts is a new set of features in Google Search and Maps to help you quickly understand what’s going on and decide what to do during a crisis.

How SOS Alerts Work

During a crisis, you may see an SOS Alert at the top of search results when searching for the incident or location. You’ll see maps, top stories and—when available—authoritative local information such as emergency phone numbers, websites, and translations of useful phrases. Depending on how close you are to the affected area, you may also get a notification on your mobile device that directs you to this information.

If you’re outside of the affected area, you may still want information about the crisis. Searches for relevant terms (like the name of the event or the location) will also show an SOS Alert that provides a timely overview of the situation, in addition to features such as donation opportunities.

Google Maps on mobile can also show SOS Alerts. In Maps, you’ll see a specific icon on the map and a tappable card with more information about the crisis, such as helpful phone numbers and websites. The map will also include real-time updates, like road closures and traffic and transit updates.

As we’ve developed our crisis response products, we’ve worked closely with organizations and government agencies that are on the front lines of relief efforts, including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and many others. "Radio and television were once the only channels to quickly provide information in an emergency, but the internet and mobile phones have become increasingly important,” said Robert Glenn, Director at FEMA.

In addition to SOS Alerts and other crisis response features—including Google Person Finder, Google Crisis Map and Google Public Alerts—our philanthropic arm Google.org provides grants and volunteers for communities impacted by crises. We hope you never need to use crisis response features, but if you do, they’re designed to help keep you, and those you love, safe and informed.

Manual Code Review Anti-Patterns

3 days 17 hours ago

Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the SubMain blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site. While you’re there, take a look around at some of the other posts and at their offerings. Today, I’d like to offer a somewhat lighthearted treatment to a serious topic.  I generally find that […]

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Erik Dietrich

DaedTech Now Brought to You Over SSL

6 days 15 hours ago

I’ve had an item on DaedTech’s Trello board for a good, long time now.  Switch over to using SSL.  And, fear not those of you who enjoy this blog!  You can now browse confidently, without worrying that some impostor is feeding you misinformation about expert beginners, journeyman idealists, and other random neologisms that come out of […]

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Erik Dietrich

A Look at the History of RDBMS

1 week ago

Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the Monitis blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, take a look at Monitis’s offering for all things related to website and networking monitoring. If you had to pick a unifying technology to bring all developers together, then you could […]

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Erik Dietrich

Britain: back to being the sick man of Europe?

1 week 1 day ago
IN THE 1970s, Britain was dubbed “the sick man of Europe”, a role previously played by the Ottoman empire in the late 19th century. A poor growth record since the second world war combined with terrible industrial relations (29m days lost to strikes in 1979) to make many ask the question “Is Britain governable?”.

Feed your need to know

1 week 1 day ago

As the late, great Dr Seuss once said, “there is no one alive who is you-er than you.” At Google, we know this statement is truer than true. Sure, we all have many things in common, but none of us has quite the same mix of passions, interests and goals as the next person. And, while we each keep up to date on the things that matter to us in different ways—social media, news apps, talking to friends—it’s hard to find one place to stay in the know about exactly what matters to you. Today that’s changing.

People have long turned to Google to get answers, learn about the world, and dig deeper on topics they’re passionate about. Today, we are announcing a new feed experience in the Google app, making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you—even when you don’t have a query in mind.

A smart feed that changes with you

Since introducing the feed in December, we’ve advanced our machine learning algorithms to better anticipate what’s interesting and important to you. You’ll see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more. And now, your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world. The more you use Google, the better your feed will be.

As the world and your interests change, your feed will continue to grow and evolve along with you. You’ll notice that your feed will also reflect your interest level for various topics—for example, if you’re a photography enthusiast but just casually interested in fitness, your feed will show that. But if you see something that isn’t up your alley, unfollowing topics is easy too. Just tap on a given card in your feed or visit your Google app settings.

Follow your favorites

While we’ve been getting better at understanding your interests, it hasn’t always been easy for you to choose new topics for your feed. To help you keep up with exactly what you care about, you’ll now be able to follow topics, right from Search results. Look out for a new “Follow” button next to certain types of search results—including movies, sports teams, your favorite bands or music artists, famous people, and more. A quick tap of the the follow button and you’ll start getting updates and stories about that topic in your feed.


Broader context and deeper exploration

To provide information from diverse perspectives, news stories may have multiple viewpoints from a variety of sources, as well as other related information and articles. And when available, you’ll be able to fact check and see other relevant information to help get a more holistic understanding about the topics in your feed.


We’re also making it easier to dive deeper into any of the topics you see in your feed. At the top of every card, you’ll see a header that puts your interests front and center, letting you search that topic on Google with one tap.

Get more of the stuff you care about

With these updates to the feed, it’s easier than ever to stay in the know about exactly the things you care about and see more content to inform, inspire and entertain you. You’ll spend less time and energy trying to keep up with your interests and more time enjoying and cultivating them. Whether you’re a pet-loving, Nietzsche-reading, sports fanatic; a hip-hop head and burgeoning brewmaster; or anything in between, your feed should fit your fancy.


The new feed experience is available in the Google app for Android (including the Pixel Launcher) and iOS, launching today in the U.S. and rolling out internationally in the next couple of weeks. Just open the Google app and scroll up to get started.

We’ll leave you with some final words from Dr. Seuss: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

Static Analysis to Hide My Ignorance about Global Concerns

1 week 1 day ago

Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the SubMain blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, take a look at CodeIt.Right to help you automate elements of your code reviews. “You never concatenate strings.  Instead, always use a StringBuilder.” I feel pretty confident that any C# developer that […]

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Erik Dietrich

How to Analyze a Static Analyzer

1 week 2 days ago

Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the NDepend blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, take a look around at some of the other posts, and sign up for the RSS feed, if you’re so inclined. First things first.  I really wanted to call this post, […]

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Erik Dietrich

The High Five: The Seven Kingdoms at war and Floridians band together

1 week 6 days ago

This week, we’re eagerly awaiting the return of “Game of Thrones,” where some alliances come together like Floridians at the beach and others break off like the Larsen C ice shelf. Here are five of this week’s top searches, with data from Google News Lab.

My search has just begun

The Great War is here, and ahead of the “Game of Thrones” season seven premiere, fans are getting ready for the episodes to come (some context: for the weeks leading up to their final seasons, “Game of Thrones” was searched 300% more than “Breaking Bad,” and 1000% more than “Mad Men”). GoT’s most searched creatures are “dragons,” “direwolves” and “three-eyed raven,” and Jon Snow was the most searched character, followed by Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons. And of last night, the internet is fired up about another queen, Mother of Twins.

In queso you hadn’t heard…

Chipotle introduced a new cheese dip this week, making “queso” a more popular search term than other dips, like hummus and guacamole. Cheese lovers turned to Google to scoop up answers to their questions, including “Is Chipotle queso gluten free?” and “Is Chipotle queso good?” For those who prefer homemade queso, the top searched queso recipes this week were white queso, queso fundido, queso fresco and chili con queso.

Humanity at its finest

In Panama City, 80 Florida beachgoers banded together to save a drowning family in a rip current, leading people to search for “human chain Panama city beach.” Search interest in rip currents currents swells every July with related questions like, “what to do in a riptide” and “how to spot a riptide.”

Chilling news

This week a trillion ton iceberg separated from the Larsen C Ice shelf in Antarctica, forming one of the largest icebergs ever recorded. Top searched questions include, “Where will Larsen C go?” and “What will happen when Larsen C raises sea levels?” This great frozen schism caused search interest  in “climate change” to spike by 195 percent, reaching its highest point this month.

Let’s take a selfie

… said a monkey. And now a federal appeals court in California is expected to rule whether that monkey can sue over the rights to its selfie. It’s bananas! Even with all the hype about the selfie-taking monkey this week, “dog selfie” was still a more popular search term than “monkey selfie.”

Growing the Ideas from the Developer Hegemony Book

1 week 6 days ago

Happy reader question Friday, everyone.  Today, I’ll field a question about the Developer Hegemony book.  For any newer readers, I wrote this book over the last couple of years and published it to Amazon in early May.  For a briefer synopsis of its purpose and message, you can check out this announcement post. The question […]

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Erik Dietrich

Growing the Ideas from the Developer Hegemony Book

1 week 6 days ago

Happy reader question Friday, everyone.  Today, I’ll field a question about the Developer Hegemony book.  For any newer readers, I wrote this book over the last couple of years and published it to Amazon in early May.  For a briefer synopsis of its purpose and message, you can check out this announcement post. The question […]

The post Growing the Ideas from the Developer Hegemony Book appeared first on DaedTech.

  
Erik Dietrich